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system, from which we cannot depart. I regret, my much-valued friend, that you and your associates were so unsuccessful in your efforts, the other day, to discover our retreat; and depend upon it, that should you be more fortunate hereafter, we shall exert our utmost to give you a warm reception. Thirdly,

MATTERS IN GENERAL. “ When there is a sufficient provocation, we go all lengths to gratify our revenge. If there are any who seek to injure us, we either poison their cattle, fire their buildings, or do them some similar service, which all know how to appreciate. We do not suffer our members to be guilty of a mean action—that is, professionally. We never hesitate to shoot a man upon the highway, for the sake of his purse; but on no occasion do we condescend to pick his pockets. This is a species of fraud which we not only abhor, but would punish with as much severity as your boasted laws. All mankind we hold to be our debtors--and when we find an individual who has more money than we think he is entitled to, we demand it of him as a matter of right; and if he refuses, we settle the business in our ownway-sometimes giving him other metal in exchange. There is still another source of revenue arising to us, from the ransoms paid for

Upon this subject, however, I need

CAPTIVES.

not say much at present, except that if the parents, or those interested, be wealthy, we are inclined to be rather extravagant than otherwise. And now, the

CONCLUSION. “I must touch upon matters of still greater importance. You may have been at a loss, for the last few days, to account for the absence of your daughter. This explanation having devolved upon me, I hasten to inform you that she is in our possession, and will not be restored, except upon the payment of a certain sum of money, which we will name hereafter. Our demand, however, will be moderate. If you desire to make any arrangement, it will be necessary to meet one of our brotherhood at midnight, two days hence. This will allow you sufficient time to decide upon a matter which must be to you of considerable moment. There is a meadow about a mile in a south-west direction from your house, which is entirely surrounded by the forest. · A solitary elm stands in its centre, under which we sometimes give audience to those with whom we have business of a peculiar nature. If, therefore, it should be moonlight, (which is indispensable,) come to this tree, unattended, at the time proposed, and one of our men will be in waiting to receive you. There will be nothing to fear, provided you are disposed to come and go peaceably. You must not forget, however, that you can be seen the moment you issue from the forest; and should there be others with you, depend upon it, a shower of bullets will soon whistle about your ears.

“ There is nothing more, my dear Florence, to be added-except, that you must endeavour not to disappoint us."

I folded the letter with no little astonishment, that suspicion should have rested upon me as its author. “But it matters not,” said I to myself. “ There is something paramount to all this : the rescue of Emily devolves upon me-me alone. This is the night fixed by the outlaws for a meeting with Florence, that they may make known the price of her redemption ; but he, silly fool ! disbelieves it; and certain it is that the midnight will find him a sleeper. Ay-midnight is the hour-provided the moon is abroad; and if Richard Florence sleeps, there are other eyes that will be more watchful. I will make conditions with the desperadoes myself, and purchase the captive's liberty."

END OF VOL. I.

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